Russia, Google reach $7.8 million settlement on Android case

Google's two-year antitrust battle with Russian competition authorities is finally coming to an end. Google will allow apps and competing search engines to be pre-loaded on devices, with a new tool to select the latter.

A long-running dispute between Google and Russia's antimonopoly watchdog has now reached some level of closure, as Google has now reportedly arrived at an out-of-court settlement with Russian Federation regarding the tech company's Android OS. FAS had accused Google of abusing its monopoly position in mobile app stores serving the Android operating system. In time, FAS imposed additional fines against Google, amounting to almost 1 million rubles in total.

Under the settlement, the company can not enforce agreements with phone makers requiring them to preinstall Google's apps along with its Google Play store on Android devices and prohibiting them from preinstalling competitors' apps, Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service said.

The suit followed a complaint from Yandex, a major Russian search company, which is one of the biggest winners of this settlement. Any developer that signs a "commercial agreement" with Google can be included - Yandex is the first to sign up.

"We are happy to have reached a commercial agreement with Yandex and a settlement with Russia's competition regulator", a Google spokesperson said in a statement. The addition of a choice window provides users with the opportunity to choose their default search engine.


Google has also agreed to soon offer a "Chrome widget" that will let Android users in Russian Federation choose a default search engine aside from Google.

The deal also makes it possible for other applications to be pre-installed on Android devices in Russian Federation.

At the same time, Google will by no means limit or impede pre-installation of other developers' applications on the users' devices.

"We managed to find a balance between the necessity to develop the Android ecosystem and interests of third-party developers for promoting their mobile applications and services on Android-based devices".


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